Of the 9700 kilometers proposed for the Sendero de Chile about 1,143 are developed, in chunks of course. Trails are like people, it takes years of exploration, a clear plan, and hours of time put in by good people to get it Together.
The Appalachian Trail (AT) is developed and well known. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is connected all the way through. Though more remote, she is home to the Hearts of many.
Today of note shall be Not A Chance and The Croatian Sensation, who just completed YET ANOTHER PCT Thru-Hike.
About a decade behind that in development we have the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) who still involves miles of dry road walking, as per the hiker-trash who wander through here each summer. So here’s to the likes of Bloody Boots Slim and Shroomer; way to go guys. Neon, I’ll expect detailed updates on your way through next summer.
Then there are the beautiful little brothers and sisters scattered all all about. The Long Trail (LT), who is actually our oldest, the Pacific Northwest Trail and so on. This doesn’t even touch the beauties spread across the globe. For info on those, you’ll have to ask the likes of Frog, Lorenzo, or Green Tortuga.
But back to my point, I’ll give Chile a few more years to cobble together a couple more kilometers (the conversions are killing me!), while I cobble together the dollars and information. The resupply spreadsheet has been created, post-its are plotting up from the toe of my map, and I just opened the first of two intended savings accounts. The guy at the Credit Union was everything I hoped for and the meeting gave me confidence in exactly why I want to move away from Big Banks. But Big Banks have the reach, so I’ll keep playing The Man’s Tune, but diversify to a Union with a little bit of a bettr rate of return. Bank with Credit Unions, people. It just makes sense.
Speaking of, my Tech Guy just linked my Paypal account to this here blog (-2.9% -.35 cents [The Man’s Tune is not a cheap one]) so you too can help bolster my Add-On CD!
Now, back to the trails. My greatest hiking feat this season has been the outrageously awesome hiking partners I’ve found. Indomitable Spirits, each and all.
Any of these are hikes I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys adventure, is at least a bit familiar with Colorado (weather and terrain etc), is acclimated to elevation, and has a day to kill.
Dusty and I enjoyed the 8 mile trip up to Chihuahua Lake. Peru Creek Road was a moderate dirt road drive. My little Subaru sedan, Pickle, could have made it, with great caution. The first miles of the trail were a rough jeep track which made for hard climbing and plenty of 4-wheeling weekenders. A flat, pleasant stroll at alpine offered great views up at Grays & Torreys. Meanwhile, Little Miss, the Min Pin dealt in great grace with the many Chihuahua jokes from passing hikers and covered the miles like a trooper. As the trail turned up to the west and into a scree field, the climb became steeper though the track was still easily identifiable. It quickly revealed the lake below, with plenty of stoops for picnicery.
Before work one day, Georgia Boy and I headed down through Georgetown and up Guanella Pass to Mount Bierstadt, a 7 mile jaunt. The drive up to Guanella makes for one of the most astounding and easily accessible (paved/close to Denver) Fall Colors Drives I’ve encountered up here. Reaches of mountainsides exploded in color, littering the road with photographing spectators; count us amoung them. The trailhead was well maintained, with a Forest Service stinky potty and everything. The trail was straightforward with a flat, mile long approach over slatted bridges, along a quintessential approach lake, and through a lovely creek. At the one junction, take the wider trail. Then up the rocks to where an early snow clung.
In terms of 14ers, it was easy and being on the Front Range sees higher use. If it’s an option, I’d recommend hitting it on a weekday. On this particular Thursday we encountered Hasselhoff (another 2010 PCT hiker!) and his two Beach Babes. It, them, and the blue jay day made for great vibes all around. That is, once we verified that we were, in fact, on top of the mountain. It was confusing because one of the wings of Evans (a neighboring 14er) stood higher than we were and there are only 2 14ers around there. So, hold heart, courageous climbers; sometimes you just don’t know you’re on top!
We had wonderful weather but that will not always be the case, so if you are hiking with a partner (2 or 4 legged) be prepared to NOT BE A JERK.
This past weekend, Trip and I took Sherry’s advice and headed up past the Quandry Trailhead (2 miles of parked cars along a dirt road) up to McCullough Gulch where even more nimcompoop drivers were having a really hard time with life.
The initial hike followed a gated off road, so no vehicles, but still relatively steep and hard packed. At White Falls the road and family groups drop off. The South (our left) was dominated by Quandry (who earns his name) and to the North, a talus wall littered with mountain goats. It was a really fun hike up, following massive slabs of stone and clambering over tree roots to a most lovely lake.
From here we schwacked up to the north, away from the dwindling trail and passing above the alpine shrubs, began to trek through a rangy, rolling rock field dotted with cairns. Much like snow fields, this terrain has a tendency of toying with perspective and distances. By the time we sat at the the top of the field, just at the base of the steep, loose saddle (atop which sat the Pacific Tarn [highest lake in Continental US]), it was time for lunch and a time check. Having to be back in town to facilitate a Cooking Matters Class, we contented ourselves to name this little lake Clyfford, practice echo shouts, nommed an impressively healthy lunch, then scramble back down a more direct route.
I do have an idea of how this could become a pretty sweet overnight, or longer point-to-point hike. Curious? Ask me.
So there you have it folks. A few day-hike idea to get you started along with the general going-ons of these past few Autumnal weeks.